It is a common belief amongst employers in Australia that it is okay to fire new employees without notice. Many employers also believe it is okay to terminate employees in the first few months of employment without reasoning or following the proper procedure. But both of these beliefs are simply untrue.
When terminating employment, the employer is required to give at least a weeks notice for employees who have worked less than a year, under the National Employment Standards (NES). This amount of notice will grow based on how long an employee has worked at an organisation. Failing to comply with the NES is a significant breach of employment law and can lead to the offending businesses being heavily fined.
The minimum notice won’t apply if the individual is hired as a casual or engaged for a specific task, period, or season. It also excludes someone hired as part of a training agreement but not an apprentice, as well as a daily or weekly hire in the building and construction or meat industry.
Other circumstances include a full-time or part-time employee who has in some way broken their contract of employment in some serious manner, such as due to serious misconduct. For example, an employee who during the course of their time with your organisation engages in proven theft, fraud, or assault. In these cases, it is also possible to let go of the staff member without giving them a week’s notice.
Sacking an employee without good reason after 6 months could also leave an employer open to an unfair dismissal claim, unless the business has less than 15 employees, in which case the period is 12 months.
Even those time limits don’t apply if the termination is due to one of a long list of reasons including discrimination, having a ‘workplace right’ such as the right to join or not join a union, and other specified reasons, many of which might surprise unsuspecting employers.
Depending on the severity of the claims made, these types of actions could damage your brand’s reputation and drain your company of much needed financial resources.
ER Strategies has assisted countless clients with dismissing employees in a safe manner and compliant with all employment laws. With over 20 years of experience in the area, we have developed well-tested strategies designed to get the best outcome for the employer whilst also minimising risk! If that sounds interesting, give us a call on 1300 55 66 37, or click the button below to contact us.